PR delegated among four groups under Coca-Cola's latest restructuring

ATLANTA: The massive reorganization at Coca-Cola has devolved PR responsibility down to each of the four new business units.

ATLANTA: The massive reorganization at Coca-Cola has devolved PR responsibility down to each of the four new business units.

ATLANTA: The massive reorganization at Coca-Cola has devolved PR responsibility down to each of the four new business units.

The four heads of the new units - the Americas; Asia; Europe-Africa, plus a new business unit - will decide how PR functions within each one.

Each operating group will have its own external affairs people - a system Coke adopted in the past with its various regions - and each group president will decide how that group's PR people will function. The heads will report directly to CEO Douglas Daft.

Rob Baskin, director of corporate media relations and global communications, said he expects the groups to coordinate PR with the 30-strong corporate PR staff, which will remain unchanged.

Coke is stepping up PR spending and activity as part of an overall marketing effort aimed at boosting company sales and restoring its tarnished image.

'We are running a more aggressive PR program,' said Baskin. Coke has said it plans to spend dollars 300-dollars 500 million more this year. Coke uses PR for relationship building in local communities and to back major marketing efforts.

Coke's image has suffered in the past two years due to recall problems in Europe, a major racial discrimination suit, the resignation of its CEO last year, slow sales and a battered stock price.

Daft has pledged to push decision-making down the organizational chain at Coke so local managers can react to what local markets want. The new structure is seen as an attempt to do that. Coke announced the restructuring on March 4 when it announced the resignation of its president and COO Jack Stahl.



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